Spanish legend Raul to retire after season


Spanish striker Raul, the 38-year-old former Real Madrid star now playing for the New York Cosmos, announced Thursday he will retire when the minor-league club’s season ends next month.

Raul began his pro career at Real Madrid in 1994 and spent 16 years with the Spanish side, sparking the capital side to six La Liga crowns, four Spanish Super Cups and three UEFA Champions League titles.

He departed in 2010 as Real Madrid’s all-time top goal scorer with 323, before recently being equalled by Cristiano Ronaldo on September 30th.

After netting 40 goals in 98 matches for Germany’s Schalke 04 and helping the Bundesliga side to the 2011 Champions League semi-finals, he departed in 2012 for Qatari side Al-Sadd and retired in 2014 only to make a comeback late last year with the Cosmos, who play in the second-tier North American Soccer League (NASL).

“When I signed for the New York Cosmos in December, I said I would evaluate how I felt towards the end of the year and assess whether I would continue to play,” Raul said.

“My decision is to retire from playing at the end of this season. I am fully focused on finishing the season strong and helping the New York Cosmos win the NASL championship. In the coming months I will decide the next step in my career.”

The Cosmos rank third behind Ottawa and Minnesota in the table with two regular-season matches remaining.

“The decision to retire is not an easy one but I believe it is the right time,” Raul said.

Raul has seven goals in 26 appearances for the Cosmos.

“Raul is one of the world’s most iconic players,” Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese said. “I knew when we signed him what he would bring on to the pitch but his knowledge, passion, professionalism and commitment exceeded my expectations.”